For fans of Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen, and Adriana Trigiani, The Witches of Cambridge reveals an astonishing world where the heart's deepest secrets give way to the magic of life-changing love.Be careful what you wish for. If you're a witch, you might just get it.
Amandine Bisset has always had the power to feel the emotions of those around her. It's a secret she can share only with her friends—all professors, all witches—when they gather for the Cambridge University Society of Literature and Witchcraft. Amandine treasures these meetings but lately senses the ties among her colleagues beginning to unravel. If only she had her student Noa's power to hear the innermost thoughts of others, she might know how to patch things up. Unfortunately, Noa regards her gift as a curse. So when a seductive artist claims he can cure her, Noa jumps at the chance, no matter the cost.
Noa's not the only witch in over her head. Mathematics professor Kat has a serious case of unrequited love but refuses to cast spells to win anyone's heart. Her sister, Cosima, is not above using magic to get what she wants, sprinkling pastries in her bakery with equal parts sugar and enchantment. But when Cosima sets her sights on Kat's crush, she conjures up a dangerous love triangle.
As romance and longing swirl through every picturesque side street, the witches of Cambridge find their lives unexpectedly upended and changed in ways sometimes extraordinary, sometimes heartbreaking, but always enchanting.
I really liked Menna Van Praag's previous book The Dress Shop of Dreams (reviewed here) so I had high hopes for this book and it didn't disappoint.
In my opinion the book title and the cover do not do justice to the storyline. I would never have chosen the book from either of these.
To say this is a tale of every day life is maybe stretching it a bit, as of course with witches there is magic about. However, the tale is very much of love, lost, found and unrequited albeit not by the same people. All the basic storytelling lines are there, the one that I loved most was the lady whose husband had died and her coming to terms with that and facing the world again.
The author has a lovely gentle guiding way with words whilst leading you through a tale that you really want to know what is going to happen next. At first I did feel there were too many threads and as they changed I got a little lost, but that soon settled down as I began to get to know the characters.
Noa has the main storyline and unfortunately I guessed a little early what might become of her wanting to give up her magic gift. I was really rooting for her to be able to get her gift back - did she? You will have to read to find out.
Near the end of the book something happens, which I really didn't think would and it did shock me a little - but as I don't do spoilers that is all that I will say. I think the ending might be open for a sequel - which would be nice.
I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars.
My thanks go to Netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book to review.